Święconka: Celebrating Easter the Polish Way

One of my favorite Polish Easter traditions is Święconka—the blessing of the food to be eaten on Easter Sunday. I love everything about it—the preparation, the going to church for the blessing, and the eating!

Swieconka

The tradition of blessing food on Holy Saturday first appeared in Poland in the 14th century. In those days, the priest would come to people’s home for the blessing. It wasn’t until centuries later that the tradition evolved to what it is today—the faithful bringing baskets to church.

Traditional items for the Easter basket include:

  • colored/decorated eggs (pisanki)—symbolize new life and the Resurrection
  • butter—traditionally molded into a lamb, represent Jesus Christ
  • bread—symbolizes Jesus as the Bread of Life
  • sausage—symbolizes prosperity
  • horseradish—symbolizes the bitterness of Jesus’ sacrifice
  • salt—symbolizes purification

Many families also include cakes and other sweets. I included a couple of toddler snack bars so my son can enjoy a blessed treat on Easter morning. 🙂

My favorite part of the basket is definitely the pisanki—traditional Polish Easter eggs. Their vibrant colors and impressive designs (created by hand) are stunning. The designs vary by technique and the region of Poland. Each is impressive in its own right.

My great-grandmother and grandmother used to dye eggs in onion peels, which would give the eggs a rich reddish-brown tint. They would then create skrobanki by scratching the surface of the egg to reveal the white eggshell. Unfortunately, I did not inherit my grandmother’s pisanki artistry skills. Luckily for me, I came across these gems. Traditional looking pisanki in 3 seconds–the answer for the artistically challenged like me.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter!

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